In A Copper Called Craven when a crook called Ridley is arrested at the airport he accuses Detective Chief Inspector Craven of taking bribes to enable him to get through customs without difficulty. Craven finds himself investigated by A-10 and under suspension.
Of course it’s obvious someone is trying to set Craven up – but who and why? Craven has to go off the books to crack the case and finds an Irish connection from many years before has come back to seek revenge.
This opening episode of the third series marked the return of Special Branch after a two and half year absence and with the exception of the excellent Robert Earley theme tune it is changes all the way. Gone are Inman and Jordan and in is Detective Chief Inspector Alan Craven. Also gone is the traditional studio interiors and occasional filmed scenes and in is the completely shot of film and location look that marked the start of Thames’ long running and very successful association with Euston films.
The TV Times of 31 March 1973 had a short article making note of the fact that not a single studio corner had been utilised and that a disused prep-school, St Pauls, had been used for the Special Branch offices.
UK / ITV – Thames / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Wednesday 4 April 1973 at 9.00pm
Writer: Roger Marshall / Director: William Brayne
Series: Special Branch Season 3 Episode 1
George Sewell as DCI Alan Craven
Roger Rowland as Detective Sergeant North
Peter Jeffrey as Chief Supt Pettiford
Tony Selby as Ridley
Richard Butler as Commander Nicols
Sheila Scott-Wilkinson as Pam Sloane
Barry Jackson as Sgt Workman
Patrick Crowner as Corrigan